John Hadl, now an associate AD at Kansas: I had come over in a trade from the Chargers after 11 seasons, but I have to say, my two years with the Rams were the best time I ever had in football. I loved those guys, Shack and Jaws. Here's how close we were. We used to have weigh-ins, and, if you were over, it was $100 a pound, which was a lot of money in those days. Well, you can take off about six pounds if someone stands behind you and lifts up your buttocks with their fist. Shack and I used to do that for each other all the time.
Harris: Hadl and Jaws lived in Marina del Rey. I lived not too far away in Inglewood --that's where practice quarterbacks tended to say. Every morning, we would ride together down to practice in Blair Field in Long Beach, then have breakfast in the golf club restaurant before the quarterback meeting. Hadl was a genuine guy. Genuine. He would quiz us all the time about different situations and teams. It was like going to quarterback school.
Fred Dryer, Rams Pro Bowl defensive end and an actor for more than 30 years: [Owner] Carroll Rosenbloom had traded in the Colts for the Rams, and he brought in a new coach, new uniforms and a new attitude. In that 1973 season, we went 12-2 and Hadl won NFC Player of the Year. But he lost the playoff game to Dallas, and the quarterback carousel started up again. That was always a problem with the Rams.
Chuck Knox: My second season, 1974, begins, and we win three of our first five games. This would be fine for most teams, but it meant that we had already lost as many games as in all of 1973. And in the public's and management's eyes, that meant trouble. At the same time, Coach Dan Devine of Green Bay calls. He sounds as desperate as I'm starting to feel. He says he needs a quarterback. Bad. He needs our MVP, John Hadl.
Bill Curry, Rams backup center who became two-time SEC Coach of the Year at Alabama: I had played for [Rosenbloom] in Baltimore, so we were pretty close. He called me to tell me he was thinking of trading Hadl and wanted to know my opinion. I was shocked. But I told him I thought James Harris was ready, and that the team believed in him. You know what we called the deal? The Lawrence Welk Trade. We got a one and a two and three. [Actually, the Rams received the first three picks in the '75 draft and the first two in '76.]
Hadl: I was shocked. I did not see that coming. When Chuck told me about the trade, I could see that he had tears in his eyes. But once the trade went down, I could understand it. And I felt that the Rams were in good hands with Shack and Jaws.
Jaworski: When Jim Harbaugh chose Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith last fall, it was totally déjà vu. Knox chose the quarterback with more potential. I didn't really have a problem with it. That first time we sat down to breakfast without Hadl, Shack and I just looked at each other and smiled. It was us now.
Harris: At the time, I was trying to figure out how I fit in. Hadl was the present, Jaws was the future. Then Chuck gave me the news -- I'm thinking, does he know I'm black? After I got home, my phone started ringing off the hook. When Coach Robinson called, he was happy for me. But right away -- this is why he was such a good coach -- he was stressing preparation. He wanted me to be ready for the moment.